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Anonymised Case – Pragmatic implementation of Agile at Scale

Anonymised Case – Pragmatic implementation of Agile at Scale

Our Customer faces major strategic and cultural changes in their organization to effectively compete against new players that disrupt their industry.

How to bring an agile movement to life that can reinvent the company from the inside-out?

The Challenge

At the beginning of 2021 our client* launched a new strategy to “reimagine” their business and the experiences their customers seek. To reimagine the benchmark of luxury and what modern luxury means in the world of tomorrow.

To realize this strategy our client was keen on becoming a more agile business. One that trusts people to disrupt at pace and with clear purpose, focused on value creation, creating quality and profit over quantity.

The Approach – summary

Develop and embark on an Agile journey to:

  1. Filter out business practices that do not longer serve the new strategy and find new focus.
  2. Work on mindset to develop transformational leadership.

The Approach – elaborated

Agile has been a buzzword for many years. Some organizations succeeded in truly transforming their people and business thanks to agile. Unfortunately even more organizations failed. Often because they fell in the trap of just implementing a set of skills, tools and routines.

Our client was and is very much aware that their journey to realise their new strategy needs to be supported not only by techniques but by transforming mindsets – agile in its essence.

Unleash the energy & engagement of leaders
The first thing we did was to define what agile meant for our client specifically and concretely. With a combination of dialogues, workshops and experiments in the organization we created a clear picture of what it is and what it is not.

By reflecting in teams on their new strategy and what it meant for their role as leaders and their organization, we also unleashed energy and engagement. Taking the time to have proper dialogue, refine their language and define a common one was a critical step for what was to come.

This is how our client’s customized agile method was born: 5 principles that every European team was invited to explore and work with:

  1. Every team has a clear value proposition validated by its customers
  2. Work is organized in small teams no bigger than 11 people
  3. Work is organized in short iterations
  4. Every team has one standard metric to measure and talk about progress and success
  5. Every team aims to standardize intent-based decision-making

Develop transformational leadership
A journey like this can only work when leaders are willing to work on their leadership. Our client’s leaders cultivated a practice of self-reflection and awareness about the leadership behaviors that serve agility in the organization as well as control mechanisms to let go of.
Our client learned from previous change tracks what works and what doesn’t in their organization. For them, mindset is everything. “You are the owner of your own destiny” is one of their mantras.

“Merci pour tous ces éléments et une nouvelle fois merci pour cette évasion et ouverture d’esprit. Un vrai bol d’air et beaucoup de choses à appliquer qui permettront à chacun de mieux s’épanouir et de ce fait mieux performer.”

– Directeur France

Start with experiments and break artifacts
Together with key stakeholders we launched several experiments in key areas of the organization. The newly appointed teams that broke silos between key sales and marketing functions, provided the ideal context to ‘reimagine’ with an agile mindset how to create value for customers. Same for customer experience where they flipped from a typical waterfall to an agile approach.

Reimagine the future with the country management teams
The 5 principles of our client’s customized agile method were the foundation for all teams, but within that frame each team had the freedom to apply agile according to their unique needs. A real breakthrough for many teams was to reimagine their value proposition: Who is the customer of our team actually? What value do we create as a team? What does this mean in terms of the work we do? How can we collaborate more effectively? …

“I am already applying some of the ‘unbossed’ learnings from the workshops with my team. I think it is one of the first times that I remember what I learned and I am not afraid to apply the learnings as they are simple, meaningful and truly powerful.”

– Directeur France

Set-up agile incubator
Slowly but surely an agile movement emerged thanks to many agile experiments in different parts of the organization. To benefit from the learnings of experiments on an organisation-wide level, we set up an agile incubator. The agile incubator is a team in the organisation focused on scaling agile, centralize method knowledge, assess needs, leverage collective intelligence.
It is normal that different teams, functions, geographies…have different paces of adapting to Agile. That is ok and natural in transformation journeys. The agile incubator is there as a source of inspiration, a provider of expertise, tools, techniques and sounding board for teams to take the next step on their journey. Some teams connect to the cultural shift and need inspiration, others need tools and rituals, something concrete to work with, some pick up on both… as long as they find what they need to build resilience and contribute tour client’s strategy, they are realising their purpose as an organization.

Please get in touch with us if you want to have a chat about this journey.